Assemblymember Bob WieckowskiSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ Calif. Governor Jerry Brown’s signing this week of several bills to aid California seniors by improving oversight of assisted living facilities will better protect the state’s growing elderly population, said Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), the author of one of the bills signed into law.

“The horrible stories of abandonment, abuse and neglect in these facilities sparked this reform package and these new laws are a positive step forward to securing safer environments for our seniors,” Wieckowski said. “With such a growing senior population and so many facilities to look after, the state must remain vigilant to ensure appropriate action is taken where it is needed.”

AB 2171, authored by Wieckowski and supported by a broad coalition of senior and consumer organizations, creates a statutory Bill of Rights for seniors in Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly.

“We have put in statute a set of rights for RCFE residents that cover informed consent, financial management, privacy, adequate staffing and other issues,” he said.

Brown signed nine bills on residential care facilities Sunday. The bills were introduced after a number of stories by the Bay Area News Group, San Diego Union-Tribune, Center for Health Reporting, Pro-Publica, Frontline, and newspapers across the state.

In 2012, the California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program received more than 4,000 complaints against Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly. Wieckowski’s bill is supported by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, AARP, the Elder Abuse Task Force of Santa Clara County, the California Long-Term Ombudsman Association, the Contra Costa Advisory Council on Aging and several other senior and consumer groups across the state.